Friday, May 31, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 17, Fins

The new styrene fins add a lot of strength over the old vacu-form fins. The fit of the halves is so good, there is a way around filling the seams.

I used the liquid cement to assemble the halves.
The liquid cement dries very fast. To start I brushed a line of of glue along the slim flat leading edge. I drew a pencil line on the fin to show where the first glue line goes.

The two halves are pressed together.

TIP: Now I can brush the liquid cement over the outside seam of the outside and trailing edges shown on the left.

Don't worry about any glue that shows on the outside edges.

After the glue dries, the leading, outside and trailing edges are sanded flat.

On the left you can see the trailing edge after sanding was started. There is still some reflected seam showing.

On the right is the trailing edge of the fin after sanding until the seams disappear. No filling!

Assembly time so far:
 9:10 minutes previous
 0:25 minutes this post
 9:35 hours total

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 16, Adapter and Third Stage Wrap

Be sure the edges of the Reduction Wrap are smooth and have a consistent width. This will effect the fit on the large tube edge.

I wrapped some 220 grit around the BT-101 tube and ran the edges over it.

The Third Stage Wrap was applied first so I would have a straight upper edge reference for the Adapter Wrap.

The adapter wrap was Set in place over the card stock adapter.

Notice the lip overhang. If it is applied correctly it should butt up clean against the Upper 2nd Stage Wrap.

After some test fitting there were a few minor high spots on the wrap edge. These were lightly sanded with 220 grit on a block.

Sand and check, sand and check.

Here's a pretty good fit of the wrap and the upper tube edge.

There was a slight gap at the seam. Slivers of left over plastic sheet was glued into the gap.

The fill strips were sanded. Any remaining lines were masked and hit with some filler/primer and sanding.

Assembly time so far:
 8:00 minutes previous
 1:10 minutes this post
 9:10 hours total

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 15, Interstage Wrap?

Last February on the NAR Facebook page, Jay M. Chladek may have found an error -
"If the wraps are aligned (as molded) and shown in the instructions, the vertical half round wood tunnels may not line up between the Inter Tank and Inter Stage vacu-form wrap locations!"

To see the blog post: CLICK HERE

That description is a little confusing. The dowels will line up if built as is and by the instructions, but most of the interstage wrap will end up rotated 1/4 turn to the left.

Notice the illustration below - At the bottom is a tall black rectangle, directly above it should be the white rectangle.
To fix the interstage wrap you'd have to cut off the low section down the lowest horizontal recess line. Then line up the tunnel (half round dowel) positions with the lower wrap before using the spray adhesive. Spray and glue the low, cut off section.
Spray the upper (remaining 2/3) of the wrap. Line up the umbilical connectors. The upper part of the interstage wrap will end up rotated to the right, 1/4 turn.

There was no addendum in the instructions I received.
Notice the tunnel top on the lower left. On the upper part of the wrap, the single upper tunnel should end up above and to the right of the top of the lower left side tunnel.
There was no addendum in the instructions I received. I'll be building it as is with the umbilical connections and tunnels where they are. Unless you are a true bolt counter, I doubt anybody will notice. But as it is it isn't really correct.

EDIT: Without cutting and rotating the interstage wrap - The black paint vertical band won't end up as shown in the picture shown below left. The four Ullage motors will end up a little more to the right, not as close to the edge of the vertical black bands. One of the vertical UNITED STATES decals will have to be set over to the right, to the side of an upper tunnel.

Here's a great illustration of the wrap orientation from the Apogee Saturn V instructions.

Here's the kit interstage wrap glued in place.

When setting down the wraps, sight down the tube to be sure the tunnel tops and bottoms are in line.

You may get end lifts after the wraps have been sitting for a few hours.
TIP: Sneak some CA glue and press the ends back down. Have Q-tips handy to pick up any excess glue before it dries. Pick up the excess glue, the CA will be hard to sand when it is dry and hard.

No time recorded on this post,
These are observations.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 14, Gluing the Vacu-Form Wraps

I would recommend the Scotch 77 spray adhesive to attach the wraps. It does come in different looking cans.
The "45" adhesive is meant for lighter applications, like mounting a photo in an album.
"77" is a mid grade adhesive and allows for re-positioning. Trust me - You will probably be lifting and re-positioning these. You'll have about 10 minutes of working time before the adhesive starts to dry.
The "90" adhesive will certainly work, but really grabs! You could have trouble trying to lift and realign the wraps. The 90 formula comes out like a spider web. The thickness of the spray may change the wrap fit on the body tube.

TIP: Spray and place only one wrap at a time! If you were to spray them all at once, the upper wraps would be dry by the time you get around to them.

Tape rolls were set on the outside of the wrap, the side that will show on the model. Flip over the wrap and stick the tape rolls on a piece of cardboard.

Spray the adhesive on some scrap cardboard to check width and density of the spray.
Spray the adhesive directly over the top of the wrap back, not at an angle. You don't want any spray on the underside face of the wrap. You will probably get a bit of adhesive on the edges. You'll notice that when you are handling the wrap.
Be sure the sides (left and right side near the butt joint) get sprayed.

TIP: Before setting down the lowest fin area wrap, double check the directions of the corrugations. This lowest wrap is an easy one to set upside down.
The left edge of this first wrap goes down the pencil line you drew down the body tube at the start of the build.
Set down the wrap, don't press to adhere it yet. After getting back to the start point, see how it matches up. Lift and re-position until the end of the wrap is matched with the start with no "step" at the ends. On the last re-position, pull on the end as you roll it down to get rid of any raised areas at the top and bottom. 

You will probably have some end lifts after the wrap has sat for an hour. Hold down the end and "sneak" some thin CA glue on the seam. Do an inch at a time.
Have Q-tips and paper towels handy to pick up any excess CA glue before it dries.

You can carefully size the wraps and you might still end up with a gap. The spray adhesive might add some diameter thickness to the wrap.

I mentioned to save those thin plastic trimmed strips. Find one that'll friction fit into the gap.
The fill strip will want to move around so position and apply the brush on glue about an inch at a time.
Brush on the glue, wipe off the excess with a Q-tip.
Fold up a piece of sandpaper and clean up the filled corrugation.

Each wrap takes about 15 minutes to spray and position on the model.
Four wraps on the lower body = 1 hour. Filling the edge gaps on two wraps 30 minutes.

Assembly time so far:
 6:30 minutes previous
 1:30 minutes gluing four wraps on lower body - this post
 8:00 hours total

Mike Fields' Saturn V Engine Mount Fillets

An email from Mike Fields' about reaching the recessed fillets on the Saturn V centering rings - 

"I thought I would try something different with the engine mount in my Estes Saturn V.  I like to use epoxy on engine mounts, but I thought that it would be difficult getting that much epoxy that far inside the body tube.  

However, I saw the package of Loctite Instant Mix 5-minute epoxy in Lowe's and thought I'd give it a try.  I comes with two long mixing nozzles that reach into the Saturn V body tube with no problem.  It took about one minute per each end of the mount.  I think I probably used too much, but I'll know next time.  Thanks."

Great work! That is one strong, well placed glue fillet.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Rocketry Show Interview

My NARCON Interview for the Rocketry Show is posted. To listen: CLICK HERE

Peter Alway is first up, I follow at about 57:28 in.
Don't you hate to hear your own voice?

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 13, Cutting Out The Vacu-Form Wraps

The vacu-form wraps are cut out with a 1/16" border. That border gives you a small flat edge surface for the spray glue adhesion.

I tend to cut the seam sides (right and left sides) wider than 1/16".
The wrap is rolled around the tube and the over lap marked with pencil.

The overlap is cut off, the same width on both sides.
TIP: Notice my ruler is turned over so the metal side is closer to the wrap. I don't want to take any chances raising the cutting guide, the blade angle could change.
TIP: Tape the wrap to your work area so it won't shift when cutting.

Wrap the wrap, trim a bit and check again until the butted up edges are close and have a very slight overlap.

When you get close to a near fit, sand the overlap to the perfect fit.

Here is some of the left-over trimmed edges.

Save these, you might need them to fill a gap if the ends were cut too short.
Each square wrap takes about 5 minutes to rough cut out, the inter stage wrap took twenty minutes.

Here's an example of the inter stage wrap to show the 1/16" glue border.

The Body Wrap Reduction and Third Stage Wrap will be covered later on.
Assembly time so far:
 5:35 minutes previous
 0:55 minutes this post
 6:30 total

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 12, Nozzle Paint and Plate

To hold the nozzles for painting, I punched hole in cardboard with a pencil. The pins in the top were pressed into the pencil holes.
I also had to flip over and spray the nozzles from the top. There are lots of nooks and crannies to reach.

The paint on the top was scraped off for gluing.

For the plastic to card stock joint I used some Beacon Fabri-Tac around the pins.

The pins were pressed into the nozzle plate. The washers are pressed onto the pins. Bottled plastic cement was brushed over the top of the washers.

The fit of the spacer ring is a friction fit, tight against the outside washers.
A dot of wood glue was set on the inside of the washer edge, on the card stock.

The spacer ring was pressed into the glue dots.

A heavy glass was set into the spacer ring until the glue dots dried. Glue fillets were added to the inside joint.

Assembly time so far:
 5:05 minutes previous
 0:30 minutes this post
 5:35 total

Saturn V Nozzle Plate?

In the 2011 Saturn V build I mentioned adding a nozzle plate cover print to the Saturn V kit.

Here's that post from 2011: CLICK HERE

I don't think it would work now - the holes in the card stock nozzle plate in the #1969 kit are spaced differently and won't match the print.
This picture is from the older build with the #2157 nozzle plate.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Art of Scroll -Video Observation

When I was on the road in the early 1980s, my rocket range box became my leather working tool box. It gave me something to do when I was stuck in crappy hotel rooms.
I had always been fascinated by leather and metal work and started doing leather carving.

I recently saw this video on Facebook.

Both leather work and metal engraving use the same floral "scroll" look.
To see the video: CLICK HERE
This is as good as it gets.

Watch for two things on the video -
1. All the curved lines (even when set close side-by-side) radiate from a center base point. The interior curved lines all flow - no bends.
2. The metal piece being engraved rotates under the graver tool. The cutter (graver) stays still.

TIP: This is the mistake some rocket builders make when cutting the curve on card stock shrouds. While cutting, the scissors stay still while the shroud card stock is turned.

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 11, Nozzle Assembly

This is the type of glue you should be using  - Bottled liquid plastic cement with the brush attached to the cap.
Tube type plastic cement is iffy and not what it was fifty years ago.

This stuff is very thin and evaporates quickly.

Look at the nozzle halves. One side has small alignment pins, the other side has small holes.

TIP: You can lightly sand the side with the holes, don't sand the side with the alignment pins! That little bit of sanding will give you a better, tighter fit.

I didn't brush the liquid cement onto the side edges. The halves were pressed together and lined up.
Liquid cement was applied to the seam on the inside using the brush.
More cement was brushed on the top, around the pins.

Here's one of the finished nozzles.

The new nozzle fit is very good. You really have to look for the seam joints on the outside.

Assembly time so far:
 4:50 minutes previous
 0:15 minutes this post
 5:05 total

Friday, May 24, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 10, Shroud Gluing

Here's the final fit, ready for gluing.
The large end overlaps the coupler slightly, making a "stop" going into the BT-101 lower tube.

The assembly is straight, there is some camera distortion.

The instructions direct you to apply two lines of glue, one on the tube and another under the base end of the shroud. As the glued shroud is slid into position you are supposed to line up the pencil line with the shroud seam. This is difficult to do, you are working with glue that is setting up as you are trying to position the shroud.

TIP: I would suggest not worrying about the shroud seam. This is a flat, but-joint seam. You can always pencil in a line after the shroud is glued in place. Concentrate on getting the shroud properly seated against and over the coupler.

Slide the shroud down close the the coupler base.

TIP: I'm not going to put a ring of glue on thetube for the top of the shroud, that will be added after the shroud is on. The only glue line is going at the top edge of the coupler. Don't use a lot of glue, you shouldn't have the shroud edge saturated.

Slide the shroud down with the edge overlapping the coupler.

After the bottom glue dries, apply a thin glue fillet at the narrow end of the shroud and body tube joint. Fillet about 1 1/2" at a time. Remove the excess glue and smooth with a fingertip.
This upper glue joint fillet will be covered by the ends of the vacu-form wraps.

Now you can draw a pencil line to be used for positioning the vacu-form wrap on the reduction shroud.

Assembly time so far:
 4:40 minutes previous
 0:10 hour this post
 4:50 total

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 9, Third Stage Reduction Shroud

Here's the slightly larger shroud from the #2157 kit.
TIP: Use scissors on the curves, a knife and straightedge on the straight cuts.

On my thumb is a piece of sandpaper. I'm sanding the edges, taking down any bumps.
I tend to cut the glue tab a little wider than what is printed.

On rougher card stock you can use a glue stick to attach the glue tab. On very shiny stock you might want to use wood or white glue. Don't use too much, White or yellow glue can over saturate the card stock.

TIP: Try using a wipe of glue stick on the inside side of the shroud, not on the glue tab. Set the glue tab into the glue on the shroud. This keeps the glue tab dry and allows more time when re-positioning the other end.

EDIT: Some glue sticks may not work as well on glossy card stock. The card stock in these examples is the 110 lb. card stock from WalMart. It is not a glossy finish.

Why do I repeat some techniques? There are new builders joining the blog all the time. They may not know how to do this. 

Pre-curl the shroud in the heel of your hand.
Notice the right edge of the shroud is set down the side line of the hand.
Press a clean dowel or pen barrel in an arc (or pie shape) over the shroud. You can also press and put a small curve in the glue tab. Practice makes close!

Another glue stick wipe is set on the opposite shroud edge, not on the glue tab.

Press the shroud edges together then set the seam on a clean dowel.
Press and roll a pen barrel over the seam, concentrating on the seam joint.

I tried a test fit and it was a bit tight.

To enlarge the upper hole, slightly sand down the edge. Support the shroud so it won't get bent. It shouldn't take much sanding.

Assembly time so far:
 4:10 minutes previous
 0:30 hour this post
 4:40 total

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 8, Primer/Filler and Shroud Scan

The third stage assembly was slid into the upper end of the BT-101 tube for spraying with Duplicolor Filler/Primer. Sliding the centering ring assembly down inside the BT-101 will protect the shroud gluing edges from getting covered with paint.

The picture to the right shows masking tape inside the tube edge to keep out any over spray.

The Service Module tube was taped to a dowel for filler/primer spraying.

On YORF, Jeffy Jeep measured the length of the new, shorter Service Module tube with a caliper. The length is 1.836" long.

Here's the tubes after sanding with 220 grit and then 400 grit. I sand almost to surface leaving the filler/primer in the seams and shallow dips in the tubes.
TIP: When you are only supplied with a single card stock shroud, always scan the shroud so you can print a few extras on 110 lb. card stock. On the original make some 1" long reference marks. After printing, check the marks to see if it was printed full size.

GOTCHA: The fit of this kit supplied shroud is small! The narrow end wouldn't slide over the BT-80 and the wide end doesn't overlap the edge of the coupler.
I checked with my old shroud from the earlier #2157 kit and it was a little larger!
If you would like a PDF of the older, slightly larger #2157 shroud, email me at: and request the: #2157 3rd Stage Shroud PDF

On this kit the shroud will be covered with a vacu-form wrap so any small forming mistake might not be noticed. Still, I don't take a chance.

On the NAR Facebook page Matthew Henderson wrote:
Having a problem with the Estes Saturn V.
Cut out 3rd stage foundation wrap, but it is about 1/4" too short on the top side of the wrap and doesn't fit around the tube. Any suggestions?

Others responded they had problems with the foundation wrap being small.

Assembly time so far:
 3:30 minutes previous
 0:50 hour this post
 4:10 total